There was more than just a cold front that swept through the Windy City Friday night (Oct. 26) at The Vic; one may say that a visit from Cupid came extra early, for an unexpected, yet splendid force accompanied the chill: love, and in the purest form possible. Los Angeles band A Fine Frenzy, most distinguishable by creator and lead singer Alison Sudol, seemingly fell in love with the Chicago crowd during her performance, while the crowd fell abysmally more in love with her.
Despite the division of believers in the “love at first sight” philosophy, this show was an assured exception, and who could blame the audience? Sudol elegantly careened and cavorted on the stage the entire time, supplementing those gyrations with frequent grins, dainty dimple displays and jaw-dropping, goose bump-bearing and soul-assuaging vocals, not to mention a semblance as illuminating as the white lights and lamps embellishing the stage. In fact, it was as though her performance was a story, for Sudol consistently provided narration conveying confession, courage, contemplation and confidence between her equally visual, nature-esque songs, detailing how her latest album, Pines, was the result of a phase of dissatisfaction for life; oozing with gratitude from the enthralled audience; talking about taking an “adventure to the deep, blue sea” and conclusively encouraging everyone to never be afraid of something they loved doing (she specifically stated that “taking the first step [was] the hardest part,” but that pursuing a possessed passion was worth every ounce of fear present). She was an all-encompassing safety blanket, delicately covering everyone who wanted and/or needed instant comfort, whether from the surrounding cold or some interior inquietude. No matter the reason, the entire room was filled with an invigorating effervescence, thanks to Sudol.
As Sudol announced that she’d be playing her last song, the crowd uttered complete despair and disappointment, clearly wanting more from the charismatic and saintly songstress. Clearly touched by the response, she said, “Oh! Be still my beating heart,” a sure sign that she was just as crestfallen that she couldn’t play longer, not to mention speaking for the reciprocation of love and fulfillment. Even though her last song of the set was the notorious and heartbreaking “Almost Lover,” the full participation in singing along assured that an exchanging of hearts—and loving ones, at that—as well as the established relationships, would be maintained, no matter where the distances, or, also in this case, adventures, transported them. There is something about Alison Sudol, and the best way in articulating it is simply to be in her presence, where indubitably and all-naturally, love will be the soundtrack.
Coming soon: Part II, an in-depth feature on and with Alison Sudol.
Set-List: Pine Song, Avalanches, Winds of Wander, River Song, Dream in the Dark, Sailing Song, They Can’t, It’s Alive, Now is the Start, What I Wouldn’t Do, Almost Lover